Mark 14:32-42 (NIV)

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba”, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”   

Psalm 69:20 (NIV)

20 Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.   

DEVOTION – Jocelyn Soriano (Manila, Philippines)

How alone Jesus must have felt on the night before his death!  His disciples couldn’t even stay awake to keep him company in prayer.  That night, one of his closest friends betrayed him.

I’ve had my share of times when I felt lost and when I felt a heavy burden deep within me.  Finding people who would listen to my cries wasn’t easy.  Most people are already overwhelmed with their own burdens, and they don’t have energy to share someone else’s.

We all experience times of brokenness:  broken hearts, lost jobs, failing health, the death of loved ones.  In these times, we need all the support we can get.  We need friends who will listen without getting tired and family members who will stay with us when we can’t sleep.

Like us, Jesus must have looked for comfort.  He must have wanted support from those he loved, but he found no sympathy.  Only in the Father did he find strength to carry on.  He cried out his deepest fears, knowing that God would not judge him but instead would love and support him all the way.  We can do the same.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Even when we feel abandoned, God is always our friend.

PRAYER: God of all comfort, when we can find no sympathy from the people around us, may we turn our eyes to you, our hope.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: LOYAL FRIENDS

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